False Claims Act and Qui Tam Lawsuits
The California and federal False Claims Acts protect the government against fraud. If you believe you have witnessed fraud against the government, such as health care fraud, pandemic-related fraud, cyber fraud, defense contracting fraud, procurement fraud, disaster relief fraud or procurement fraud, call us at 888-762-0297 to discuss your potential claims.
We do not charge for consultations and can help clients everywhere in California.
Is There a California State False Claims Act?
California is one of twenty-nine states that have passed a false claims act. According to state law, the Attorney General can recover damages against anyone who commits fraud against the state. Fraud is a broad term that can cover a wide range of activities involving:
- False statements or documents used to defraud the state of money or property
- Acts committed to avoid paying or transmitting property to California
The US Federal False Claim Act also criminalizes creating a false report or claim that defrauds the government. In addition, the federal statute includes provisions for whistleblowers (also known as the qui tam plaintiff or a relator).
What Is A "Qui Tam" Lawsuit?
A qui tam lawsuit is a unique type of whistleblower claim. Qui tam lawsuits empower a whistleblower to sue on behalf of the government and recover funds lost to fraud. A qui tam lawsuit also entitles the whistleblower to a portion of the recovered funds.
Qui tam lawsuits are generally filed under seal, meaning they are kept secret.
Confidentiality allows the Justice Department enough time to investigate. A qui tam lawsuit works as follows:
- The government investigates the claim to decide whether to intervene
- A qui tam seal lasts for at least 60 days
- Under some circumstances, the court may extend the seal
- Most qui tam lawsuits are settled out of court
If the government chooses to move forward with the qui tam lawsuit, the whistleblower is still entitled to a portion of the recovery. If the government decides not to move forward with the lawsuit, the whistleblower may still proceed with their own claim.